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Te Araroa Swell Statistics, January: All Swell – Any Wind

This image illustrates the variation of swells directed at Te Araroa over a normal January, based on 2868 NWW3 model predictions since 2007 (values every 3 hours). The wave model does not forecast wind and surf right at the coastline so we have chosen the optimum grid node based on what we know about Te Araroa. In this particular case the best grid node is 18 km away (11 miles).

The rose diagram illustrates the distribution of swell sizes and swell direction, while the graph at the bottom shows the same thing but without direction information. Five colours show increasing wave sizes. The smallest swells, less than 0.5m (1.5 feet), high are coloured blue. These happened only 42% of the time. Green and yellow illustrate increasing swell sizes and red illustrates the largest swells, greater than >3m (>10ft). In either graph, the area of any colour is proportional to how frequently that size swell happens.

The diagram suggests that the prevailing swell direction, shown by the longest spokes, was NE, whereas the the most common wind blows from the NNW. Because the wave model grid is away from the coast, sometimes a strong offshore wind blows largest waves away from Te Araroa and out to sea. We group these with the no surf category of the bar chart. To avoid confusion we don't show these in the rose diagram. Because wind determines whether or not waves are surfable at Te Araroa, you can load a different image that shows only the swells that were predicted to coincide with glassy or offshore wind conditions. During a typical January, swells large enough to cause good for surfing waves at Te Araroa run for about 58% of the time.

IMPORTANT: Beta version feature! Swell heights are open water values from NWW3. There is no attempt to model near-shore effects. Coastal wave heights will generally be less, especially if the break does not have unobstructed exposure to the open ocean.

FEATURE UPDATE: we now show red swell icons for 'open sea' swells that are travelling in an unfavourable direction for the surf break. In places, these swells may still wrap around coastlines and produce smaller waves at some breaks. They are also significant for windsurfers and other water users that tend to venture further off-shore.